Friday, September 04, 2015

The Friday Before Labor Day

I think I'm having a "can't cope" attack. I've forgotten how much I hate dealing with doctors, hospitals and such, which actually makes me a lucky person since I haven't had to do it very much.

I think it's great that USPSA has created a new division, Carry Optics.  I believe this is absolutely the right time for this division, as self-defense handguns will be moving more and more toward red dot optics, and I applaud USPSA Prez Phil Strader's actions in using it forward.

I will definitely be shooting this division, probably initially with a G19/RMR set-up, but my goal is to move to a Sig Sauer 320 Carry, also with an RMR...that's a little ways down the line. I want to talk to Sigmeister Bruce Gray about the plan before I go forward. There's a couple of other options to consider as well.

I'ms also talking to Eric Galloway about a red dot install on my Kahr's a pix of the Galloway mount on a CM-9:

Another option I'm looking at are the new generation Gen2 Premium TP-9s that come optic-ready with high sights from Kahr. The TP9s are awesome pistols, slightly shorter than a G19, a wee bit longer in the butt and lighter.:

Thursday, September 03, 2015

…And a Few Additional Thoughts

…police all across the country are going to be very tense, so when you as a concealed weapon or an open weapon carrier interface with law enforcement officers, you need to be 100% on your game. That means under no circumstances are you going to make any "motions consistent with drawing a handgun." Hands in full sight, I suggest palms turned out. If you have a concealed weapon, UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES do you pull open your jacket or pull up your shirt to reveal the concealed weapon except under the specific orders of the LEO!

If you are involved in a shooting situation, I suggest that you consider NOT reholstering. The danger in reholstering, as we've shown on TBD, is that when the LEOs arrive there's a chance that, with all the shouting that I guarantee is going to be happening — especially, "WHERE IS THE GUN!" — you might quickly pull back your jacket or shirt to show the police where the gun is…"motion consistent with drawing a handgun." Keep the gun in your hand until you hear the sirens or you are very clear that the arrival of the police is imminent…then place the gun on a table or chair, or on the ground in front of you. Immediately point out the gun to the arriving cops, then keep your hands visible, palms out.

Yes, this is paranoia…but my job is to help you guys stay alive!

Wednesday, September 02, 2015

Some Thoughts and a Warning

Graffiti seen in Houston…

Violent crime is soaring and it has become crazy dangerous to be a cop.

I talk about this newer, more dangerous landscape on this week's DOWN RANGE Radio podcast, but some of the points need to be reiterated here.

We tend to lump "awareness and avoidance" together, often as one single word, "awarenessavoidance," but our focus is usually on the "situational awareness" side of the equation. We've talked about that a lot lately, but I think the times calls for more focus on the "avoidance" side of the equation.

As I talked about in TRAIL SAFE, the best solution for you and violent crime is for you not to be there; to put it bluntly, let the crime happen to someone else who hasn't been paying attention. The big problem with avoidance, especially among men, is that it is sometimes seen as a capitulation,  letting the bad guys control your life. "Are you telling me that I should let a bunch of thugs tell me where I can or cannot go? Where I can or cannot eat? Where I can or cannot drive? Hey buddy, it's a free country!"

The example I use in TRAIL SAFE is of a scene I saw years back when I was in Joshua Tree in California rock climbing. The sun had already set, and as I was on my way out I passed a designated campground. On one side of the campground was several car-loads of LA gangbangers, in full colors, riotously dancing around a huge and probably illegal bonfire, passing bottles, breaking off into scuffles.

On the other side of the campground, about 50 feet away, was a very grim elderly couple outside of a small tent camper, cooking tiny on a tiny camp stove while watching nervously as their campmates got louder and more violent.

My point? Did the elderly couple have every right in the world to be in that campground.? Absolutely! Can a few carloads of LA 'bangers turn your life into a living hell? Absolutely! Is that risk worth it to make your point?

When I was a professional speaker (such as I was), I suggested to my audiences that one of the way to think about "taking a stand" on something was to ask yourself whether you are willing to die for that stand. If the answer is no, the temperature of the water of the water cooler isn't sufficient grounds for one to go all John Wayne, then maybe there were better ways to address the issue from the very beginning, ways that you never saw because you were spinning up to make that big "stand."

And the campsite...stay or go? Well, that is purely your decision. Me, I don't believe in walking into fans unless I absolutely have to. There are lots of campsites in Joshua Tree. I think more importantly we need to make some hard decisions about how we are going to get through the new altered world, which show every sign of getting worse before (or if) it gets better. In TRAIL SAFE I made a point of saying that none of us need to go out looking for High Noon.

The noonday train may indeed bring Frank Miller, and each of us may indeed have to walk alone down that dusty street. Don't worry, it'll find you, and when you least expect it. But in uncertain times like these, it makes sense to as much as possible arrange our lives to minimize risk. Of course, everyone's situation is going to be different. Example...I don't have kids and would rather stick my hand into a blender than go to a mall, so that's an easy one for me.

But think through the places you need to go, and seriously ask yourself if there are lower risk options.  It many cases, we're talking about small things here...keep your car gassed up, so you won't find yourself looking for the proverbial all night gas station in the wrong part of town. Pay attention to the routes you take to and from work, recreation, etc. In strange cities, where I am a lot, I like big highways and 4-lane streets...I don't take shortcuts. I might do a "drive-by" of, say, a restaurant that's been suggested to me in a new city before I hope out of the car and walk in. And yes, I've based on more than a couple of places.

Be willing to listen to local advice. I am reminded of one Saturday night in LA when I offered to buy my clients a nice sushi dinner, listing a sushi place I just read about. One of my clients, who'd been a cop, said, "Dude, you might want to rethink that...the block that restaurant sits on just became a contested zone between a Crip set and a Blood set." We had Vietnamese lobster instead. I think of it as listening to the "jungle drums." Pay attention! It's better to have delivered pizza in your hotel room than becoming the latest mugging statistic on that trendy downtown mall!

 I can't state John Farnam's dictum too many times: "Don't go stupid places. Don't hang out with stupid people. Don't do stupid things."

I avoid large groups of people like the plague.  This comes from having spent a lot of time in major urban riots as a journalist back in the day. I've been tear-gassed, pepper-sprayed, beaten, dragged off to jail and and shaken in my boots looking down the barrels of great big guns, but that was back when someone was paying to be there. These days, I remember the lessons I learned...the difference between "angry crowd" and "riot" is plus-or-minus about millisecond...once the first rock is thrown, everyone is in the soup...there are no "bystanders" once the balloon goes up (e.g., if you want to watch the riot, watch it safe at home on television as opposed to making it a day trip).

Crowds have their own minds and tend to lose that mind very quickly. I prefer not to be in the middle of the crowd when that happens. If you must be in a crowd, keep near the edges and make sure you have your exit strategy planned. And do not hesitate to leave the scene! Always err on the side of caution, especially if you're armed...and you are armed, aren't you?

I don't like walking through even small groups of only takes a moment to walk around said group, and I don't put myself into a potential s$%t sandwich. Trust your gut here. It's probably worth going back and reading de Becker's The Gift of Fear. I don't agree with everything in the book, but by all means absorb what is useful. If you haven't read Rory Miller's Facing Violence: Preparing for the Unexpected, now would be a good time to correct that error.

In truth, the world is not a safe place, and it doesn't give a damn whether you live or die. That decision depends on you.

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Tequila Tuesday...

…after getting the reports on the MRI on my knee, I decided Tuesday was Tequila Tuesday! Cuidado Tequila Blanco, distributed by Denver's Mile High Distillery and billed as the best tequila in the world (which is kinda a reach…sorry), Patron Orange Liqueur, and fresh lemon juice. Astringent, but perfect with flash grilled mahi dusted with New Mexico red chili powder and local green beans with lemon butter. Timed everything out perfectly, and dinner was excellent.

Did decide not to spend the afternoon at the range, but will do so tomorrow, running the G19 with the RMR to start tuning up for that episode of SHOOTING GALLERY.

The MRI? The short story is my knee is slagged — "repetitive use athletic injury" — in short, the marathons, ultras, triathlons and jumping out of perfectly good airplanes and off perfectly stable mountains has come home to roost. Well, it was never going to be free, was it? Have to get at CT scan to see if we can "resurface" the knee rather than replace it. Fingers crossed here. But 2 things are certain…I'll do Noveske again next year and do better, and somewhere in Canada there's a caribou with my name on him.

Monday, August 31, 2015

Another Fun Monday

Wasted most of the day driving to Boulder to get my knee MRI'ed. I should find out tomorrow just how trashed it really is, no doubt somewhere between "stay off it for a week" and amputation. As a consequence, I didn't get the podcast finished, which puts me behind the 8-ball for the rest of the week. No matter what, I gotta shoot some pistol tomorrow to get ready for upcoming filming. I'm trying to get myself used to shooting a red dot on a pistol, in this case a G19. Chris Edwards swears it'll all make sense in a couple of hundred rounds.

And no, 2 days of run and gun didn't do the old knee a world of good, but hey, it was fun and I'd do it again in a heartbeat. I am beating myself up a bit for tanking the Standards at Noveske...I've shot the Noveske standards a couple of times before in matches and done really well on them. The Standards were my last stage and, honestly, I hadn't given them a bit of thought when I stepped up to shoot. Slam dunk. Judging by my performance, you'd think I'd never shot a gun before. Oh happens.

Ironically, the only part of the Standards I was a little worried about was the shotgun segment, which I aced. Maybe I should worry more! LOL!

Sorta Back in the Saddle!

And a lot of catch up to do. Spent the weekend at the Noveske Multigun Championships at Colorado Rifle Club. What a wonderful match! My good friend Mark Passamaneck is easily one of the finest match designers working today.

And yes, I managed to get in spitting distance of LAST PLACE! On the whole, paradoxically, I was pretty happy with my shooting...I'll be reconciling that paradox on DOWN RANGE Radio this week. All 3 guns ran like tops under very dusty very dry conditions. Shot the now aged DDM-4 with Burris MTAC 1-4x, STI Marauder 9mm, and Rem Versa-Max with standard 3-Gun mods from Carbon Arms. Ammo was factory...5.56 Winchester White Box 55-gr; 9mm ARMSCOR ball; Fiocchi Game & Target #8 12 gauge, and Fiocchi Aero 1 ounce slugs. A note on the slugs...the Versa-Max is seriously picky about slugs...I've gone through a number of brands, including my favorite, Rem Low Recoil Law Enforcement slugs, which are super in my 870.


Wednesday, August 26, 2015

When We Chum For Monsters...

…why are we surprised when they rise to the bait?

When we give the monster everything it wants, even in death, why are we surprised when even more monsters surface to take the bait?

When we refuse to learn and continue to embrace not our ignorance, but our purience, the lust of the voyeur, why are we puzzled about the emergence of those who would feed that lust?

Just a few thoughts on yet another angry man...

Getting Ready for Noveske...

…well, not really. Cleaned my Versa Max yesterday, rounded up choke tubes, shotgunny stuff like that. I was thinking of changing my rifle for the match, but yesterday I was talking to my friend and IDPA champion Tom Yost. who said, and I quote, "Good Lord, Michael! Have you lost your mind?" Scales lift from my eyes! Tom's right…I'm sticking with the Daniel Defense/Burris MTAC set-up I've been shooting for the last 2 seasons. On the handgun side, it'll be the STI Marauder 9mm, which has been just a super gun to shoot.

I know I said I was going to shoot Open, but I never could sustain a happy relationship with my Glock 34, the gun I was going to dot up. When I shot the Glock well, I shot it very well. But under match pressure I couldn't to "re-educate" my grip so that I didn't drag the slide enough to make the gun stumble. Totally me, not the Glock. I suppose I should have tried a shock collar.

I'm going to shooting a G19 w/RMR for the next couple of months, so I plan to revisit the whole Glock Open issue again.

Not such great news on Ye Olde Knee…I went to my orthopedist yesterday, who diagnosed a tear in the outer meniscus. Next week I'll get an MRI to see if they need to do arthroscopic surgery and duct tape it back together, although my orthopedist thought that would be pretty much necessary. Thanks to the greatly flawed miracle of cortisone and a nice, no doubt extremely hot, knee brace, I should be able to get through the match this weekend without ending up on the ground, flopping like beached catfish. I will definitely, however, be in the running for last place!

Monday, August 24, 2015

God, I Hate Monday!

Got the podcast done, of course. It was easy, since it was a busy week. Then I took a break to disassemble my 3-Gun Versa Max and clean most of the crap out of it. Here's a Mr. Stupid point…at the last match I wondered my shotgun seemed a little off…when I pulled the choke, surprise, I'd replaced the "skeet" with a tighter "modified." I can't for the life of me remembered why I went to a "modified" choke, except that I did it at the last Crimson Trace Midnight 3-Gun. I'm back to "improved," maybe "skeet." Pay more attention, Michael! Details…details…details!

The Noveske Multigun match is next weekend. Tomorrow, I have a heart-to-heart with my orthopedist, which will probably include injections into my knees. Yeechy-poo! By Thursday I'll have all my guns cleaned (more or less), dialed in and ready for the match.